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Midcentury design spotlighted in new doc series on evolving American style

The four-part series premieres on CNN this Sunday

TWA flight center
An archival image of the TWA Flight Center in New York City.
ALAMY Images

From timeless furniture to stylishly efficient homes, there’s a lot to love about midcentury modern architecture and design. (And if you’ve ever peeked into Curbed’s Facebook group for all things midcentury, you’d know that the love is constantly overflowing.)

Iconic midcentury design didn’t just materialize out of thin air, however, and a new documentary mini-series premiering this weekend will explore just what kind of larger-scale influences helped shape a monumental era of design. American Style, produced by Vox Entertainment* for CNN, will survey how the country’s style through the decades—from fashion to architecture—has been informed by political, social, and economic climates of the time.

Bob Hope’s John Lautner-designed home in Palm Springs.
Brian Thomas Jones
The volcano-inspired design features a crater-like opening in the roof.
Brian Thomas Jones

An episode that may be of particular interest to Curbed readers is part two of the four-part series, airing 10 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 13. Focusing on the style trends of the ’60s and ’70s, the episode features glorious archival footage and interviews with design luminaries like Tommy Hilfiger and Frank Gehry, who lauded the work of legendary midcentury architect John Lautner.

Lautner’s organic-meets-otherworldly houses, and, of course, Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center in New York City, are prime examples of masterpieces completed against the backdrop of the Space Race, the “Golden Age” of flying, and an outsize imagination about the future.

Catch a clip below and tune in on Sunday for the full episode.

American Style premieres this Sunday, January 13, at 9 pm ET on CNN.

* Vox Entertainment is Curbed parent company Vox Media’s Los Angeles-based studio that develops, sells, and produces premium, non-fiction programming for TV and streaming media platforms.